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Understanding Property Damage Claims After a Car Accident

| Oct 5, 2020 | Car Accidents

Property damage claims in Arizona are typically easier to resolve than bodily injury claims. Either your vehicle is repairable or it’s not (aka “totaled”, which means you are entitled to the fair market value of your vehicle immediately before the car accident).

If the vehicle is repairable, you are entitled to use the repair facility of your choice and get an estimate for all accident-related repairs. Do not feel obliged to go through the at-fault insurance company’s favorite/recommended repair facility.

Insurance companies have arrangements with certain collision repair facilities. These collision repair facilities know who’s paying their bills (hint: not you!) and will not have your best interests in mind.

Go to a shop of your choosing where you feel comfortable having the repairs done.

Loss of Use Damages in Arizona

Did you know that beyond getting your vehicle properly repaired, you are entitled by law to “loss of use” damages for the amount of time your vehicle is in the repair shop? Loss of use damages may extend beyond use of a rental vehicle.

You are entitled to a “like” vehicle and the equivalent value of such a vehicle for the duration of the repairs.

In other words, if you have a large pick-up truck that’s been damaged and being repaired due to an accident, a tiny sedan is an inadequate replacement. You are entitled to the value of renting a large pick-up truck. Don’t let the insurance company tell you otherwise.

Diminished Value Claim aka Diminution In Value

In addition to repairs and loss of use, you are also entitled to make a claim for “diminution in value”.  A “DIV” claim is a property damage claim arising from the reduction in vehicle value solely because it was in an accident. If you were shopping for a vehicle and found two identical vehicles, but found out one had been in an accident, you wouldn’t pay the same amount for both vehicles. The vehicle involved in the accident is always going to be worth less.

How much less is the diminution in value? The severity of the vehicle damage usually dictates the value of a Diminution In Value claim.

If you have any questions about a potential property damage or diminution in value claim in Arizona, please contact the attorneys at SG Law and we will point you in the right direction.